Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Jose Huizar are clashing over a proposed Labor Day concert in Grand Park that could bring 50,000 people to downtown L.A. Huizar wants the city to withhold approval of permits for the two-day event until more details are provided. Huizar, who represents downtown, says he was left out of discussions for the Budweiser Made in America Music Festival, which could feature a performance by rapper Jay-Z. He says the event could turn into a nightmare for local residents and businesses. Aides to Garcetti describe the conflict as a “miscommunication.” The mayor says the concert would be a boon to the city. Garcetti and Huizar have a history of butting heads.
The L.A. City Council has scrapped a controversial Hollywood zoning plan that would have paved the way for taller skyscrapers and denser development. In December, a judge ordered the city to rework the plan, ruling that it was based on outdated population estimates and did not fully take into account increased demand for city services. Mayor Eric Garcetti was a major backer of the plan when he was a councilman representing Hollywood. He said the new development rules would help complete the transformation of the long-blighted area. But residents’ groups argued the zoning changes would increase traffic and harm their quality of life.
A strike by teaching assistants and tutors that led to the arrests of 20 people at U.C. Santa Cruz yesterday is expected to spread to other University of California campuses today. The UCSC picketers managed to block access to the campus for much of the day, leading to the cancellation of some classes. The union representing teaching aides and tutors has been negotiating a new contract with U.C. since last summer. The employees accuse the university of unfair labor practices and intimidation. They say growing class sizes and work loads are making it increasingly difficult for them to do their jobs. U.C. officials say the university has already made concessions in negotiations, including pay raises and more generous child care subsidies.
The Westside subway expansion has survived a legal challenge from Beverly Hills, where foes said tunneling under the high school would put students at risk. City officials, parents and others claimed that pockets of methane gas could ignite, and they even released a video showing the school exploding in a fiery blaze. But an L.A. judge says the MTA followed environmental laws when it studied the proposed route. Metro has already spent five years and nearly $14 million on the environmental review process. The transit agency said redoing the environmental impact report would have cost millions more and further delayed the project.
Sometime April Fool’s jokes don’t work out exactly as planned. Take what happened in Hesperia Tuesday: Three young men allegedly decided to prank a friend by staging a fake carjacking, complete with a phony brawl. Authorities responded in force: a dozen Sheriff’s patrol cars and a helicopter combed the area for a suspect until the hoax was revealed. The three men who staged the prank have been arrested and charged with falsely making a crime report and other charges.